3 Ways Yoga can help with Menopause Symptoms

Menopause has so many symptoms. You can feel that everything is out of kilter and may never feel the same again. This is how many of us feel and you are not on your own. Looking around for a fix can lead to yoga and trying a holistic approach when coming to terms with all the changes in your body and mentally how you feel about that.

Fluctuating oestrogen and progesterone levels lead to hot flushes, moods and sleep patterns disrupted. But yoga is a great way of mindfully rebalancing your relationship with your body, calming the mind, and helping with sleep and overall wellbeing. It may not resolve those symptoms, but this holistic approach means you are taking control of your health, your body and your mind.

The meaning of the word yoga is to join or to yoke, this is the joining of the spirit with the body, the physical with the energetic.

There are many aspects of yoga but let’s cover 3 that can help with mindful physical practice.

  • Physical yoga practice, getting started
  • Energetic levels, chakras and how the different chakras relate to differing areas of your body
  • Mindful breathing exercises, pranayama

Adding a short yoga practice, starting, and finishing with a mindful breathing exercise helps reconnect with your body as it changes through the menopause.


Physical Yoga Practice-how to successfully start

There are many types of yoga and many types of postures. If you are searching online for a class, you need to know what you are looking for. Restorative yoga and poses are the gentlest introduction to postures as there is time to get into the posture. These gentle movements are held in the posture whilst breathing and focusing on your body during the pose, centering your mind.
Find a regular time in the day to practice either morning or just before bed. Examples of Restorative yoga poses are Childs Pose (Balasana), Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Supported Bridge pose, Legs up the Wall Pose, Reclined twist and Shavasana. A typical restorative yoga class involves 5-8 poses supported by props and held for about 5-10 minutes. You will be able to learn these easily and soon develop your own practice.


Energy Levels in Yoga Practice-best practice

Physical yoga links movements to chakras and energy levels in the body. There are 7 chakra areas of the body. These energy areas are supposed to be connected to different parts of the body and all chakras need to be in balance for a healthy body. Physical practice therefore helps align energic levels. For example, the second Chakra is the Sacral Chakra related to the pelvic area and there are asanas, usually forward folding type postures that help with these areas and so need to be incorporated into a menopause specific practice.

Once you understand that all postures are linked to chakras and all chakras are linked to areas of your body then you can soon choose postures that support areas of your body that symptoms of the menopause to help rebalance.


Mindful Breathing or Pranayama as a Tool

So, what is Pranayama? This is breath exercises to clear the physical and emotional obstacles in your body and so the flow of prana -life energy. What does it mean to you though? When your prana flow or energy channels are blocked you can experience lack of focus, tension, worry etc. The breath work helps you focus, your mind becomes calm, reconnects with your body, and can be carried out during any asana to help you stretch and go deeper into the asana.
Alternatively, it is a separate exercise carried out at the beginning or end of a practice. Pranayama is deliberate control of the breath. The breath is slow and steady, breathing in and out of your nose and taking the breath down to your belly, inflating you belly as the breath goes in and deflating as it goes out. Start with controlling the exhalation which should be slow and smooth then concentrate on the inhalation which is long and slow. This has the potential to steady the mind, increases oxygen in the body, helps destress and rebalance the nervous system.

Considering we must do this to live, and it’s supposed to be natural, many of us don’t know how to breath properly.  We are breathing from the top of our chest and not abdomen, especially when stressed. Or we are not taking full breaths into the abdomen. Learning to do this is easy and again search for Pranayama for guided breath lessons.

Getting started today

So perhaps you don’t want to go to a class. You have an idea that everyone there will be able to touch their toes, be under 25 and you will have to stand at the back as you don’t know the moves. Don’t let that stop you! There are plenty of classes online. Simply start with a 15-to-30-minute class in your front room, when the family are out. You will get into a habit of yoga, which is seriously cool and you can call yourself a yogi. Carve out some time every day or every other day rather than an hour once a week. You will see the benefits and gain confidence quicker. Who knows, you may decide to join a class!


Nicole Eade

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